Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sun Glare While Driving – January 2013

The following relate to the dangers of sun glare while driving and traffic safety in general.  They were derived from our twitter feed ( or @SunPosition).

Get the message - don't text and drive!

Solar glare spurs two-car accident
WEST BARNSTABLE, MA - Solar glare contributed to a minor two-car crash at 7:33 a.m. Thursday on Route 6 that backed up eastbound traffic for at least a half-mile.  The crash occurred when one car in the passing lane rear-ended another at the crest of a hill near the Oak Street overpass and Exit 6.  That stretch of road is in an area where the rising sun "blasts" into the faces of drivers and cars tend to slow suddenly, according to West Barnstable Fire Chief Joseph Maruca.

Read more:

Sun obstructed driver’s vision in 3 vehicle collision. Police: driver not grossly negligent, not charged
Salisbury, NC - One person was taken to the hospital with injuries after a Monday morning three-vehicle collision at South Jake Alexander Boulevard and Julian Road.
Sara Hurley, 48, of Salisbury, was traveling southeast on Jake Alexander Boulevard, toward the interstate, in her 1992 Mitusbishi pickup when she ran a red light and struck another vehicle.
The other vehicle, a 2012 Nissan, was driven by Abigail Fried, 26, of Concord. Fried had a green light and was turning left from Julian Road onto Jake Alexander Boulevard.
The impact of the collision between Hurley and Fried caused Fried’s vehicle to hit a vehicle to her right, a 2003 Volvo driven by John Hoover, 29, of Charlotte.
Hurley was not charged. “The sun was very much a vision obstruction. I don’t think it was grossly negligent,” said Salisbury Master Police Officer M.P. Benjamin.

Cheers, Ralph

Sun/Shade & Urban Development – January 2013

The following relate to urban development and urban design in general, specific projects, and sun/shade issues.  They were derived from our twitter feed ( or @SunPosition).

RT @NewHomeBuyers: Urban Capital has dug a big hole at Peter and Richmond
TORONTO, ON - It looks like the construction crew has made some tremendous progress, and that crane is ready for some work. Once Tableau is complete, it will stand 36 storeys, boasting one of the coolest designs in Toronto. 

Iowa Coalition Against the Shadow Opposes Chauncey Plan
IOWA CITY, IA - Iowa City residents concerned about the future of a development east of downtown are organizing in hopes of stopping or altering the construction of a 20-story tower at the corner of Gilbert and College Streets.

Six high rise towers (39 to 63 storeys) to replace former Age building on Spencer Street
MELBOURNE, Australia - The Industry Superannuation Property Trust's plans to build an $800 million, 2,994-apartment block on the former Age site in the city’s CBD have been approved.

It is Melbourne’s largest-ever residential development, with six Bates Smart-designed towers between 39 and 63 storeys.

The site comprises 11,755 square metres on the corner of Spencer and Lonsdale streets.

The Victorian  Planning Minister Matthew Guy gave his approval last week after the plans were first submitted in December 2011. The project will be staggered over eight to 12 years.

RT @planetizen: The Next Reality TV Stars: 'The Planners'
A new documentary series on the BBC captures the scintillating stories of the planning world by following the work of Council Planning Officers across the UK. Meet "The Planners."

"The Planners lifts the lid on the decisions behind planning approvals and refusals."

"In this observational documentary series, we'll tell the story through the eyes, ears and drawings of the Planners themselves - the people who interpret the rules, evaluate the proposals and make the recommendations," explains the series description. "These are the people who can make homeowners' dreams come true or bring them cashing down."

Historic Iowa City church wary of proposed tower's shadow impact on stained glass windows
IOWA CITY, IA - For nearly a century and a half, light has streamed through the stained-glass windows lining Trinity Episcopal Church’s sanctuary, while outside, downtown Iowa City has grown up and evolved around the parish.

“The quality of light through the windows is wildly luminous; it’s really stunning,” said the Rev. Benjamin Webb, interim priest at Trinity Episcopal, as he walked through the sanctuary on a recent morning. Tall, ornate stained-glass windows with inscriptions dating to the 19th century glowed on all four walls, and smaller panes cast diffused light from the arched ceiling onto the pews below.

Webb and his congregation are wary of the day that their potential neighbor to the east — a proposed $53.8-million modern glass and steel high rise — casts its shadow over the church and blots out this early morning light during services at certain times of the year.

RT JFK ‏@JFKimberley: Toronto leading the western world in high highrise development
TORONTO, ON - Toronto’s stretch into the skies is capturing the attention of the world.

Tall-building development here is outpacing every other city in the Western Hemisphere with 15 skyscrapers exceeding roughly 45 storeys now under construction, according to a new study by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat.

That means by 2015, Toronto will be home to 44 highrises exceeding 150 metres, more than triple the 13 skyscrapers that graced the city’s skyline in 2005, says the Chicago-based clearing house on all the latest in tall building design and construction.

Growing Up: Toronto planner Jennifer Keesmaat pushes for lots of mid-rise
TORONTO, ON - Condo Town may be up there in the list of nicknames with Hogtown and Toronto the Good these days, judging by the myriad cranes building towers beside towers.

And Toronto’s chief planner has resolved to make it easier for developers to build even more.

But Jennifer Keesmaat isn’t calling for just any kind of building, anywhere: Rather than more superstructures in the downtown core, Toronto needs moderate-sized buildings all across town, she said.

Citing Eglinton Ave. as an example, Keesmaat says many Toronto streets are prime real estate for mid-rise building, defined as five- or six-storey buildings on narrow streets, and up to 11 storeys on wide arterial roads. Such streets have the space to accommodate mid-rise buildings, often host businesses and services that would benefit from increased density, and most important, are served by transit.

“It’s sometimes difficult to appreciate the magnitude of the development opportunity that these avenues present, (but) they’re everywhere,” Keesmaat said.

Among the reasons to build mid-rise: the structures increase density without dramatically changing the scale of the street, they’re low enough to let the sun in, and they often combine retail, office and residential space.

Toronto already hosts successful mid-rise projects. Though resisted when first proposed in the mid-1990s, the six-storey Alexandra Gate building near Yonge and Glencairn Ave., for instance, is a pleasant addition to the streetscape and has brought business to the stretch.

But mid-rises are still the exception to the skyscraping rule, so to encourage developers Keesmaat will be streamlining the process through “as-of-right” zoning.

That means streets such as Eglinton will be pre-approved for mid-rise building, allowing the developer to bypass the onerous and often expensive process of rezoning. The pre-approved zoning will be based on the city’s Avenue studies, thorough examining factors such as street character that have been conducted on 19 streets thus far.

Toronto’s chief planner seeks ways to develop ‘the Avenues’
TORONTO, ON - By latest count, Toronto’s skyline boasts 185 construction cranes. That is good news for the construction industry and good news for the city. “We have sucked up like a vortex all of the cranes in North America,” marvels Jennifer Keesmaat, the city’s chief planner since September. Some whopping big projects are crossing her desk, including towers of 80 storeys or so.

It’s not that she wants to slow development. It’s just that she wants to spread the wealth a little. The way she sees it, Toronto should try harder to shift some of the growth away from dense high-rise nodes and encourage mid-rise development along big avenues such as St. Clair and Eglinton. 

Read more:

Public input sought on park station, 18-story highrise proposed in La Mesa
LA MESA, CA - The City of La Mesa is nearing completion of a draft environmental impact report on Park Station, a proposed 18-story high-rise project that would be 10 stories taller than any existing structure in the city. 

Supporters of the project have emphasized the need for a hotel, office and conference space in East County, among other things.

Opponents have voiced concerns about preserving community character, noting the project would be visible from La Mesa's historic downtown village. A prior poll by La Mesa Patch found 73% opposed the project because “the proposed height proposed height is way out of line with La Mesa standards and atmosphere.”

Delta approves 37-storey highrise in bid to bring density to Scott Road
DELTA, BC - Delta council has unanimously approved a proposal to build a 37-storey apartment tower on busy Scott Road to spur densification in a commercial area it says is well-equipped with amenities.

The building will contain 359 apartment suites, as well as 24,800 square feet of commercial space on the first four floors and 511 parking stalls in a four-level parkade, with two of those levels above ground.

The 1.5-acre site could accommodate two towers, but the development was changed to build one taller and slimmer tower to stop a “wall” blocking views for residents of smaller towers across the street.

Ever wonder how much sun the different sides of your house receives?  

Canada’s busiest year for tall buildings
TORONTO, ON - The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) has pointed out 2012 was a particularly productive year for Canadian high-rise construction.

Nationally, Canada saw four buildings higher than 200 m (656 ft) built last year, which is historically the most the country has ever completed. Comparatively, two buildings over the 200-m mark were completed in the United States over the course of the year.

Toronto has been named the city most actively building tall structures in the Western Hemisphere and has the highest number of buildings over 150 m (492 ft) under construction, thanks to 15 projects. This number is expected to increase to 44 by 2015, which is a rise of 31 from 2005.

Read more:

Cheers, Ralph

Miscellaneous “Sun & Shadow” Items – January 2013

The following are miscellaneous sun, shade, solar and solar energy facts and comments.  They were derived from our twitter feed ( or @SunPosition).

@SunPosition  I just noticed the suns gone down 5pm usually 5:30pm around here. Can going into the new year make that much of a difference?

@dsn2012 There is no "jump" in sunset time b/c of the new year. Sunset time in Toronto is currently around 4:50 pm.

@AdamStilesCITY I just noticed the sun set 1/2 later today. 5pm instead of 5:30pm. Least out of view.

@dsn2012 @AdamStilesCITY Rest assured the sun is not suddenly setting 1/2 hour earlier than yesterday.

@SunPosition Hmm ok I guess back in nov and dec it was 5:30pm

@dsn2012 The sun didn't set in Toronto at 5:30 in either Nov or Dec. It jumped from 6:05 to 5:05 at the time change on Nov 3.

@SunPosition but I clearly recall the sun did set around 5:30pm back somewhere in the last 3 months because I was planning to take night photos. And was watching when the sun was setting so I could plan my trip carefully by night fall.

@dsn2012 Where were you when the sun set at 5:30?

@dsn2012 OK this should clarify things - sunset occurs when top edge of sun touches horizon. Darkness occurs an hour or more later.

@dsn2012 What date were those photos taken? Mid-Dec? At Ontario Place?

@dsn2012 Where were the photos taken? I ask because it seems odd to me to have sunset at 5pm on Oct 12.

@dsn2012 In that case I would suspect the time stamp on your camera was wrong. Sunset in Toronto on Oct 12th was at 6:38 pm EDT.

Cheers, Ralph